UCA News
Contribute

Rights body slams ‘drug war’ by son of Philippines' Duterte

Mayor Sebastian Duterte has threatened those involved in the drug trade to leave Davao City or get killed
This handout photo taken on June 30, 2016, and released by the Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) shows Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (center) walking with his children Sebastian (left), Veronica (2nd left), Sara (2nd right) and Paolo (right) after the oath-taking ceremony at the Malacanang Palace in Manila. Duterte warned of a 'rough ride' after being sworn in as the Philippines' president on June 30, promising a relentless war on crime and corruption.

This handout photo taken on June 30, 2016, and released by the Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) shows Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (center) walking with his children Sebastian (left), Veronica (2nd left), Sara (2nd right) and Paolo (right) after the oath-taking ceremony at the Malacanang Palace in Manila. Duterte warned of a 'rough ride' after being sworn in as the Philippines' president on June 30, promising a relentless war on crime and corruption. (Photo by PCOO / AFP)

Published: March 25, 2024 11:37 AM GMT
Updated: March 26, 2024 04:24 AM GMT

A global rights body has expressed “deep concern” after Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte, son of former Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte declared his own “war against drugs” in his city.

“Mayor Duterte’s ‘drug war’ will only worsen the already dire human rights situation in his city,” Carlos Conde, a senior researcher at the Asia division of Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement on March 25.

Mayor Duterte during the turnover ceremony of a new police director on March 22 told reporters: “I hereby declare a campaign that the city is at war against drugs.”

He warned those involved in the drug trade to leave the city. “Pack your things and get out. If you will not leave, if you will not stop, I will kill you,” he said.

Following Duterte’s public declaration, at least five drugs-related killings in police operations as of March 24 were reported in Davao City.

“President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. should be alarmed by this and should take action by rescinding the government’s official policies legitimizing the ‘drug war’ and order the police, whether in Davao City or elsewhere, to stand down,” said Conde.

He urged the Department of the Interior and Local Government, as well as the Philippine National Police, to rein in Mayor Duterte and ensure his “drug war” does not violate the rights of the people.

“Needless to say, and as we have seen during the time of his father Rodrigo as president, the ‘drug war’ has been catastrophic, particularly for poor Filipinos often targeted by the authorities in bloody drug raids,” Conde added.

He said Davao City “has consistently topped the monitoring by the University of the Philippines’ Dahas Project on drug-related killings under the Marcos administration.”

“With 10 killings each since January 2024, Davao del Sur and Negros Occidental are the top hotspots, followed by National Capital Region and Cebu with nine each. Of the 75 killings so far this year, 26 were perpetrated by state agents,” wrote Dahas Project on its latest count on X, formerly Twitter, on March 19.

Davao City, which has an estimated population of 1.9 million people, is the largest city in Davao del Sur province.

For more than two decades, Davao City was run by former president Duterte who adopted a hard stance against drugs and criminality in the city.

During his presidency from 2016-2022, Duterte made a violent war on drugs his flagship campaign. It led to the deaths of over 6,000 Filipinos, mostly urban poor, with some rights groups claiming between 27,000 and 30,000 killings in vigilante-style assassinations in the Catholic-majority country.

The International Criminal Court launched its own investigations against the erstwhile president putting his successor Marcos Jr. in a tough bind, as his vice president and political ally is Duterte's daughter Sara.

“He [Marcos Jr.] risks embarrassing himself before the international community, which has been willing to cut him some slack on human rights, if he allows Mayor Duterte not just to continue but intensify this brutal policy,” Conde said.

Help UCA News to be independent
Dear reader,
Lent is the season during which catechumens make their final preparations to be welcomed into the Church.
Each year during Lent, UCA News presents the stories of people who will join the Church in proclaiming that Jesus Christ is their Lord. The stories of how women and men who will be baptized came to believe in Christ are inspirations for all of us as we prepare to celebrate the Church's chief feast.
Help us with your donations to bring such stories of faith that make a difference in the Church and society.
A small contribution of US$5 will support us continue our mission…
William J. Grimm
Publisher
UCA News
Asian Bishops
Latest News
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia